THE TWO-CHANNEL/STEREO ROOM SET-UP

A reasonably large room gives you the flexibility to position a pair of speakers (bookshelf or tower) away from all of the walls. Your room’s walls do have various effects on the speakers’ sound. In general, when a speaker is close to a wall, the bass response is stronger. Consider the following: 

  • In a large room, if you’re using bookshelf speakers (the TM3s), you may want to move them closer to the corners of the room for more bass, if that’s your preference. 
  • In a small room, however, the bass from the bookshelf speakers may suit your taste just fine when the speakers are well away from the walls and corners. 
  • In a small room, if you’re using tower speakers (the TT1s), you can position them well away from the walls and corners for less bass. 

Typically, the bass is amplified in a small room. If your listening space is small, you may feel as though the bass “room gain” (the effect of the room itself on the bass) is excessive. In that case, use the port plugs (enclosed in the original box) to seal the back port opening on each speaker. That should give you a more realistic sounding bass and a better balance with the midrange and high frequencies. 

In a two-channel/stereo set-up, the THIEL speakers’ mid and high frequencies sound best when the speakers are not against or near any walls.

Reflected sound 

Imagine you’re sitting in a favorite chair or sofa inside a sphere. Sound comes toward you from all directions, vertically and horizontally. In any room no matter the size, you want the primary sound from the speakers to be distinctly separated in time from the secondary sound, which is reflected off your walls and furniture.


The above image shows that in a two-channel system by positioning the speakers away from your room’s walls, the arrival of the primary sound waves is well separated from the arrival of the secondary, reflected sound waves. That provides the proper delay needed by our ears to appreciate the spatial separation of instruments and vocals.

In a two-channel/stereo environment, we recommend you sit at least 6.5 feet (about 2 meters) from the speakers. As a general rule, your two speakers and favorite sofa or chair should form the three points of an equilateral triangle, which means the speakers are as far from you as they are from each other. That is a good starting point. Depending on the size of your room, the sensitivity of your ears, and the reflectivity of the walls, you can point the speakers straight ahead and directly at you, or angle them in directly at you. 

If, because of your room’s size or layout, your speakers must be close to the side walls, use an angled in (or a toed-in) position for both speakers to weaken the side-wall reflections and focus the sound on where you’re seated. Other adjustments you can experiment with to make the sound suit your preference include: 
  • Widening the space between the speakers. If your speakers are too close to each other, the lifelike sound that the THIEL Left/Right speakers are designed to produce will be less distinct than it should be. 
  • Angling-in the speakers as you increase the width between them. 
  • Increasing the space between the speakers and the back wall. 
  • Increasing the distance of your favorite chair or sofa from the speakers. 
  • Adjusting your room’s décor.